Title: Impossible Dream
Rating: This is an M rated story.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. And I don't even have a stalker to lay claim to.
A/N: Thank you to everyone who has reviewed so far. I am trying to get into character here, and imagine what this situation would be like. I hope I can succeed, but unfortunately the most heart-felt things are the hardest to write. Bear with me, please.
The Greatest Weakness
She wasn't going to get into a state about it.
Despite Booth's constant meddling, she wasn't going to break down. He'd tried every technique in a week, to make her break her silence. Even inviting her to join Parker and himself for an evening of crazy Trick of Treating. She'd played him at his own game, and agreed. And now she was seriously regretting her lack of thought. How did it benefit her? How did her insanity benefit anyone but Booth?
Standing now, watching his SUV pull into her street, she felt her stomach knot. It wasn't the sight of Booth that made her nerves twitch. It was the wriggling four year old in the gruesome monster mask that had her on edge. She didn't cope with kids, well. There was so much attention to be given. And their innocence was so easily snatched away.
He honked the horn and hung his head out the window. "C'mon, Bones! I have a kid eager for candy here!" She sucked a deep breath into her lungs and prayed to a God she didn't even believe in. Then she mentally kicked her own ass because, she'd treaded war-torn countries, learned three martial arts and managed to work in a laboratory with Jack Hodgins for years. She could handle a kid. It would be insane if she couldn't.
Parker smiled at her when she got into the SUV and thrust a still-wrapped Chubba Chubb, cola flavoured lollipop into her hand. "It's yummy," was all he said, taking his mask off, his cheeks rounded with the one he sucked earnestly. Brennan smiled tightly.
"Thank you, Parker," she said, turning to Booth with a scowl. "I am extremely opposed to putting anything that is one hundred percent sugar based into my mouth," she said, twirling the stick between her fingers. "If it were any other holiday, I would not do this." Booth glanced sideways at her, shaking his head.
"Bones… you know you're boring, right? I mean… deathly boring?" She looked offended, tearing the blue wrapper off the lollipop. "If you don't want it…" she slipped it between her teeth and stated smugly. "You ready for a night of intensive kiddie fun?" Booth asked, reaching into the back seat to tickle his son's belly. Parker squealed appropriately, and Brennan winced. Were all kids so noisy?
"I'm not sure…" she admitted, removing the lollipop and examining how the hardened sugar cracked along the edge. "I haven't trick or treated in years." Booth laughed, turning back to the road.
"Don't worry, Bones, the rules haven't changed since the eighties. You will get loads of candy." Parker squealed out again.
"Candy!" He said, swinging his little legs and grinning crazily, the green horned monster mark propped atop his dark mop of hair. His eyes were astoundingly wide, a mirror image of Booth's. When he grinned, his features morphed into a perfect adaptation of the man who sat next to her. She acknowledged the family resemblance with a little smile.
"He likes junk food…" Brennan commented. "And you, who apparently eats right…" Booth glared.
"Weren't you ever a kid once?" He asked, his features softening at the memory. Brennan shrugged.
"Yes… until when I was fifteen I was forced to become an instant adult…." She sounded weaker than she felt. She was a strong believer in what didn't kill her, made her stronger and raising herself and finding a striving determination had been nothing if not a good thing. She shook her head. "That sounded… I'm not a victim, Booth," he turned his head, the passing street lamps reflecting a sympathy that he tried and failed to hide. "Not in anything," Brennan added.
He glanced at his son in the rear-view mirror, and she followed his gaze, noting the child's rosy cheeked grin and twinkling eyes. He bubbled with excitement as he crunched on his lollipop. Brennan twirled hers between her fingers.
"No one can accuse you of being a victim," her partner conceded. "But sometimes strength is our greatest weakness." Brennan frowned, brushing her hair from her forehead and touching the sticky candy with her finger. She drew her fingertip between her lips and sucked the sugary cola away.
"That doesn't make sense, Booth," she said. "Strength cannot be a weakness. It's… a contradiction." And he knew how much Brennan hated contradictions. He snagged the lollipop from her hand and pulled it into his mouth. She didn't protest. In fact, she was quite grateful to be rid of it.
"Sometimes, when we try to be strong, we are at the greatest risk of forgetting to feel," he said, pulling his SUV to the curb in a quiet residential DC suburb. "And when that happens, strength is the greatest foe." Brennan glanced at Parker again, he was watching their exchange, as though he understood what they talked about. His childish innocence was endearing – especially when he grinned at her and offered her another lollipop. She politely declined.
"Ah," she said at last, turning to Booth. "This is about the 'baby' thing that everyone has been dancing around…" she pressed her fingers to her temples. "I knew that's what this whole outing was about. Is it not enough that I made a conscious and mature decision to not have children, even before I found out I couldn't…?" Booth lifted his finger.
"You still can," he corrected. "And I think you're building a dam around your feelings to protect yourself against the truth that you're so afraid to admit." She folded her arms, tilting her chin in defiance.
"I am a campaigner for truth," she replied. "It's you who is afraid to admit the truth. Not just personally, but professionally, too," she paused, looking at her feet, then at the cloudless sky outside. "Look, Booth, this is my business. It's my choice and I choose not to have children. Kids are lovely and endearing but I don't have the right components to raise a child. Nor do I have the time, and, if I've learnt anything in my life, it's that children need a lot of time when they're growing up." When she went to open the door, Booth flicked the switch and the doors locked simultaneously around her. Except for Parker's. His door was already locked. Father's intuition, Brennan supposed.
"People acquire the right components as they go along," he reasoned. "And people make time for their kids. Listen to me, Bones, I'm not going to frog-march you down to the nearest donor bank and demand that you have children but please, please just think about the choice you're making." She picked at her fingernail, lifting her eyes to his. She wanted to be angry at him. She wanted to tell him again to mind his own damn business, and she should have, too. But he spoke to her with a desperation – as though he really believed she were making a mistake.
"Being told that your chances of having children is slim is quite something to comprehend, Booth. I understand your concern and I will take on board everything you said, but for now, I'd like to have one evening where infertility is not playing on the back of my mind. Okay?" Booth straightened, unlocking the door.
"You are not infertile, Bones," he said. "And should you change your mind, you know I'd be there, right…?" Brennan chuckled, watching as Parker wriggled out of his seat and repositioned his monster mask.
"Argh!" He cried, turning his fingers into hooks and leaning over Brennan's shoulder. She feigned fear, gasping loudly and shielding her face. "Daddy, am I scary?" Parker asked, peering through the holes in the rubber, at his father. Booth smiled.
"You sure are!" Parker reached for his bag and opened the car door, launching out unto the sidewalk. Booth smiled, his eyes fondly following his son's energetic movements towards the nearest suburban house. "Just remember I'm here, Bones," he said again. She thrust open her own door.
"What, Booth? You offering to make a donation? I didn't think we were that close." Leaping from the car, she followed Booth's son to the front door of number 94 Perfect-Family-Life Avenue and listened as his sweet, childlike voice announced 'Trick or Treat?' to the laughing couple behind the door.
This is not the life I want, she insisted to herself, reminding herself to smile at all times. But as the pressure mounted from her friends and her colleague, she found it was getting harder and harder to accomplish.